Become a Virtual Website Assistant: How to Become One and FAQ’s
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Do you like the idea of working from home and getting paid for it? If so, then this blog post is for you. Here we will cover everything you need to know about becoming a virtual website assistant – including how to become one and FAQs. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of being a VA as well as some examples of what jobs they might do for clients.
Becoming a virtual assistant is one of the most effective ways to make money online and work for yourself. These days, working from home (or while traveling the world) is more common than ever, and starting a VA business is the perfect way to earn a stable income and become the boss of your own schedule and time.
Is becoming a Virtual Assistant right for you?
If you’re considering a career as a virtual website assistant, here are a few things to consider to see if you’ve got what it takes to make it in the industry:
Are you good at managing your time?
As a virtual assistant, you’ll likely be managing a ton of tasks in one go, so it’s incredibly important to master the art of time management. This is the most important part of your job if you plan on working with multiple clients. Every one of them will have their own tasks and styles, which can get pretty confusing!
You may be asking yourself how you are going to manage all of this on your own? It’s not easy but it can be done with some effort and planning ahead. For starters, make sure that there is enough time leftover in the day for other tasks – bookkeeping and sending invoices might have been neglected before now because they didn’t seem relevant or necessary to do so at first glance?
And don’t forget about marketing too-a little goes a long way when trying out new strategies like social media platforms these days.
When you’re a virtual assistant, it is important to make sure that your time management skills are up-to-date. If you are not great at this, then using an agenda or planner for scheduling tasks and creating lists will help keep things organized so as not to overwhelm yourself with work!
Are you organized?
Speaking of time management, knowing how to stay on top of your work and being organized is key to ensuring you’ll be able to keep your clients happy and yourself sane. Organizational skills and communication skills will play into this more than you might think.
One of the hardest tasks as a virtual assistant is being able to stay organized. You won’t just be managing your own information, documents, and tasks, but you’ll also be in charge of your clients’.
If you’re not a super-organized person, you can still find success as a virtual assistant…you just have to plan ahead to use the correct tool to help you succeed. Organizational apps like Trello, Airtable, or Taskade can be a great place to start, or you can go the old-school way and use a planner to stay on top of things. Your local Dollar Tree has them for just a buck.
You don’t need to stress about your inbox – create labels for each client’s e-mails. If you’re dealing with files on a regular basis, it is important that they are organized in different folders so everything stays neat and easy.
Another great tip is to get in the habit of naming each file properly in order for it to be easily accessible using the search function.
Are you motivated?
While being a VA is an incredible job that will have you waking up every morning inspired to do what you love, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. As a virtual assistant, you’re basically a freelancer and independent contractor, which means there will be quiet months when your workload is low.
In the blogging world, even though 4th quarter means high profits, January hits and there is a slump. Summer is even worse unless your clients are using that time to update old content.
You are your own boss, so you have to be able to motivate yourself. This means being prone to procrastination and not wanting anything other than Netflix on repeat!
If you’re looking to work as a virtual assistant, then knowing how to create a healthy balance between your job and personal life is imperative. Luckily, you can train yourself to become more motivated (getting out of the house to work at a cute coffee shop or writing down a list of reasons you started in the first place are both great ways to get you back on track when you need a little push).
Are you good at setting boundaries?
Out of all the questions to ask yourself on this list, this is probably the most important one. In an ideal world, every single client that comes your way would be the perfect person to work with. While you’ll definitely get some amazing clients throughout your career, it won’t always be the case.
As your business grows, you’ll likely stumble across a few clients who don’t understand boundaries and treat you as an employee on an hourly rate – one that’s also expected to turn tasks around immediately and even work during the weekends.
If setting boundaries doesn’t come naturally to you, that’s cool – you’ll learn along the way, but the biggest advice out there is to start setting them from day one. It is a good idea to let your clients know about your own hours for business, your turnaround times, and the task you’re able and not able to take on.
This will subtly (but clearly) let your clients know you’re as serious about your free time as you are about your work, while also letting them know what your boundaries are and how to proceed.
PIN THIS NOW FOR LATER
Moreover, it’s absolutely essential that you respect your own boundaries at work. As tempting as it can be, don’t respond to e-mails late at night and never let go of an opportunity to spend time with loved ones over working late in the evening.
Yes, you might lose a few opportunities this way, but those are likely clients you do not want to take on anyway. They just won’t be a good fit for you in the long run. Having a client who doesn’t respect your boundaries as a person – or worse – not respecting them yourself is a surefire way to get burned out quickly. Potential customers and potential clients are just around the corner and waiting for you.
If you’re not sure you’ve got what it takes, don’t sweat it! Practice makes perfect. As long as you are able to pinpoint the areas you need to work on and strive to improve, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t manage to start a successful business as a virtual assistant.
6 Reasons To Start a Virtual Assistant Business
A virtual assistant, or “VA”, is pretty much just what it sounds like: an assistant that works virtually. By becoming a VA, you’ll be taking on varied tasks for clients, and getting paid for working from the comfort of your home (work attire, optional).
The time has never been better to start a virtual assistant business. With the rapid growth in demand for professionals like you, there’s no shortage of work! Why not try your hand at being one?
1. You can work from anywhere
I love the mantra” Have a laptop, will travel.” One of the biggest reasons to start a virtual assistant business is that, well, you’ll be working virtually! Your clients will all be managed online, so as long as you’ve got your laptop with you and a stable internet connection, you can practically work from anywhere you want to – yep, that includes your home, cute coffee shops in the city, and even the local McDonald’s. Literally anywhere can become your office space when you have your own VA business – any remote location or from the comfort of your own home.
Love working from your couch? You can do just that. I often set in the living room with my laptop in my lap and Netflix in the background. Always dreamt of traveling the world long-term but never thought you’d be able to save enough money?
With your virtual assistant business, you’ll be able to work while you travel to all those places you’ve been pinning on Pinterest for years now. I have a great friend who is currently living in Mexico with her family – writing articles for others and building her own blogs.
2. It’s always exciting
You are only limited by your imagination and skillset. There’s no exact job description for what a virtual assistant does. You could choose to be one of the administrative assistants and take on administrative tasks like answering e-mails, scheduling meetings, or managing calendars.
If that doesn’t sound like your jam, though, you can offer different virtual assistant services that are more akin to your interests like scheduling social media posts, researching information, transcribing, or creating cute Canva designs. Social media management is in high demand.
Another option? To write new or update old blog posts. I love using Jarvis for that – and can give you 10,000 FREE credits to give it a try yourself. You will also want something like Grammarly to help keep you from looking stupid with basic errors.
Email marketing is another hot option – many people with an online presence need help- creating and scheduling emails. Those help bump up their social media accounts and Facebook groups. Those are some of my favorite administrative work tasks – I love to help them build the 52 email concept – but more email management later.
You’re in full control of the type of work you want to do. Moreover, once your business starts to grow, you’ll get a pretty varied base of clients, which means you’ll be handling different, exciting tasks on a daily basis.
Being a virtual assistant, in essence, never really gets boring. You’ll be doing a wide array of tasks and challenges to keep your mind entertained and your list of skills growing as you go.
If you want to add a service to your stable to help your clients – you can learn just about anything with Youtube Videos and Google searches. I taught myself Google Web Stories and Pinterest Management Strategies that way – and will be building up my Youtube channel next!
You can update your technical services as you go along – just don’t offer them in your variety of tasks for clients unless you have them mastered. Even new clients can sniff out a fraud and the word spreads like wildfire. Customer service is king in this world of virtual assistance.
3. You’ll be in demand
As the digital era continues to grow, the virtual assistance industry follows. Companies are realizing it’s better to outsource tasks that someone can easily complete remotely than hiring someone to show up at the office on a full-time basis.
Digital solopreneurship is the new way to make money!
The worldwide web has made it easier than ever for people with good ideas and an internet connection, but no experience or training in business skills whatsoever. Remote workers are even more in demand thanks to Covid. This means that there are many opportunities out on their waiting just for you- bloggers who want more traffic; online shoppers looking help running their eCommerce store full-time remotely while caring about social justice issues back home + so much more
A virtual assistant is in high demand right now, and things will only grow in the upcoming years.
4. You don’t need to be an expert to start
You don’t need years of experience or even a degree to become a virtual assistant. In fact, you probably already have a ton of skills to offer your first clients. If you can type, work with Excel, or have a good eye for design or writing, you’re all set!
Make a list of skills you’re comfortable with and write them down. You probably have a decent repertoire of them already and there will always be a client out there who’s looking for those just skills!
5. You’re in charge of your schedule
Aside from the (awesome) fact that you’ll be able to work from anywhere you please, there’s also the added benefit of being in absolute charge of your schedule.
As long as you get your work done in a timely matter, it doesn’t really matter if you want to start working after a morning yoga class or even later in the evening if you’re a night owl and feel more productive at the end of the day.
Moreover, as your virtual assistant business grows, you’ll be in full control of the type of work and clients you’re keen to take on and pass out on those that you’re not super excited to work with.
6. You can use it as a learning opportunity
If you’re not sure you’d like to be a VA your entire life and dream of owning a different business instead, you can use your work as a virtual assistant as a sort of (paid) internship.
For example, if you’ve always dreamed of becoming a food blogger, you could offer your services to… you guessed it – established food bloggers. In this way, you’ll get to learn a ton about the industry as well as the best practices to grow your own blog right from the inside.
Not only will you get to learn all the ins and outs about the industry of your choice, but you can also adjust your schedule so that you have enough time to work on your side business after your VA work is done. Plus, there’s also the added bonus that you’ll have a stable income coming in while your own business grows, so yay!
Everything You’ll Need to Get Started as a Virtual Assistant
Ready to take the plunge and become a virtual assistant? Working as a VA has a ton of perks, including being able to work from anywhere you want to (that can mean the comfort of your home or a tropical island in the Caribbean) as well as becoming the full-time owner of your schedule.
With so many incredible benefits to choose from, starting a VA business can be an incredible way to work for yourself. Another benefit? It’s very affordable to get things rolling!
Starting a traditional business might mean taking out loans or saving up for years in order to be able to afford the start-up costs, but as a VA that pretty much works digitally, all you need are a few simple items to get you all set up for success.
Let’s take a look at what you will probably need to get started. Before I start this list – I want to point out that I have a friend who was beyond broke – she was homeless with kids and started this by walking to the library and using a computer.
ANYONE can make this work – if you have the desire to try. A lot of people are looking for good customer support and a successful virtual assistant is ready to take care of them.
● Computer (obviously). A laptop is recommended in case you’d like to have the freedom to travel or work from cute coffee shops in your city.
● Stable wifi connection at home. The faster your internet, the better. Do proper research and don’t be afraid to splurge a bit here!
● A hard drive. While a cloud service is the way to go these days, it never hurts to have a physical backup of your backup, especially when you consider you’ll be handling your own files as well as those of your clients. You’ll want to make sure they’re safe at all times!
● Organizational tools such as calendars and planners. While apps like Trello and Asana are amazing, there’s nothing quite like writing things down on paper. This one is optional, but always a great thing to keep handy!
● Desk and chair. You’ll probably want to make the most out of working from home (*cough cough* working from your couch), but having a designated working space makes creating a healthy work/life balance for VAs a whole lot easier.
Yep, you are definitely allowed to work in your pj’s the first month but make sure you eventually create a space where you can get on full working mode. Plus, it’s an excellent excuse to get creative and live out your Pinterest dreams, so there’s that!
● Copier, scanner, and fax. Not used a ton these days in the digital era, but always useful to have in case one of your clients prefers it!
Chances are you already own many (if not all) of these things, so you won’t need to spend a fortune to get you all set up when it comes to physical equipment. Luckily, it’s nothing like opening a restaurant or opening a shop where you’ll need to invest a ton of money!
● Cloud Storage. Get a monthly subscription for both Dropbox and Google Drive. They’re inexpensive and complete life-savers, especially if you plan on handling a ton of files such as images or videos. You can start with 1 Terabyte and increase your subscription if and when it’s needed.
● Organizational tools. Being a VA can mean you’ll be handling a ton of tasks for different clients, so you’ll want to make sure you’re always on top of things by staying organized. Tools like Asana, Trello, and Taskade are life-savers when it comes to organizing your work!
● Invoicing system. Paypal has free invoices but will take a cut of your payments for convenience.
● E-mail account for business. Preferably, use a Gmail account. You can also purchase your own domain name in order to create a @yourwebsite.com e-mail, which looks more professional and will make clients trust you more. You can build up to that.
● Service agreement. You always want to have contracts in order to protect yourself and make sure you get paid. That is the largest mistake I see on the marketing boards – no set expectations and guidelines clearly stating what the client gets for their money, and when payment is due.
● Zoom account. These days, many clients will ask to meet or chat about work over Zoom, so create an account specifically for your business in order to set up meetings whenever they’re needed.
● Website. Not essential but highly recommended in order to market yourself better. If you’re not an expert at creating websites, hire someone to do it for you. This will likely be your biggest investment, but one that will pay off in the long run if you’re serious about your VA business.
● Social media accounts. Just like the website, not a requirement but very much recommended in order to establish an online presence and get more clients to discover you!
● Software. Depending on the services you’d like to offer, you’ll likely need a few programs to work on.
● Signature apps. You’ll probably be signing a few contracts here and there, so make sure you download an online signature app in order to be able to sign things digitally (which is becoming the norm these days). DocuSign is a great choice!
Now that we’ve got the material and digital items covered, you’ll also want to make sure you have the following in order to get started:
● Motivation & enthusiasm. You probably already have that, so way to go!
● Positive mindset. Keep in mind that your first months might be slow, so make sure you’re able to stay positive while things start to settle.
● Organizational skills. As a VA, you need to be really organized in order to keep your clients happy and your work flowing. If you don’t consider yourself an organized person, make sure you start getting into the habit right away.
Not too shabby, right? It’s amazing how inexpensive it can be to start a lucrative online business these days, and becoming a VA is probably one of the most budget-friendly of them all! Chances are you’ve already got most of these items (and hopefully the motivation to start), so the next step is to actually get things rolling. Best of luck in your new endeavor!
How to Set Your VA Rates
One of the biggest challenges most new virtual assistants face is knowing what to charge.
Is what I’m charging too expensive? What if this brilliant new client can’t afford me and I lose the job? What if I’m charging dirt cheap prices compared to other VAs and losing out on valuable income? What if they think I’m not good enough because my rates are too low?
There are just a few of the questions that are probably plaguing your mind if you’re just getting started. Here’s the thing, though: It’s totally normal to have doubts about your rates as a VA! For one, it’s a relatively new career with nothing “set” in stone, and secondly, it’s okay to freeze a little when that first client asks the dreaded question.
If you feel this resonates with you, keep on reading. Here’s a handy guide on how to set your rates as a VA:
Do your research
What are the other VAs charging? You might want to take a look at the rates of other virtual assistants that offer the same services like you to get a pretty good idea of what you could be charging. This is by no means a determining factor, but you can use it as a starting guide to get an idea of what the going rate currently is.
A great way to get started is by doing a little digging online. Many virtual assistants have their own websites in which they list their packages and rates. Moreover, there are dozens of Facebook groups out there where you can spend a few minutes looking at what other VAs are offering and how much their charging for it.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can even start a poll on these groups and ask people how much they’d be willing to pay for X service. Set your prices in the mid-range and you should be set.
Pssst… that last tip is an excellent way to get networking as well. It might even land you a new client or two!
How Are You Going To Charge?
How are you planning on offering your services? You can either charge an hourly rate or a package rate. Either option works, but they both come with their own pros and cons.
Charging an hourly rate can be a good way to go when you’re starting out. It means you won’t accidentally underestimate the time you’ll spend on the project and wind up working longer than you originally expected to.
The con of this is that a client might want to get an estimate of what they can expect to pay once the work is finalized. If you decide to go for an hourly rate, try to make an educated guess and quote your client a range of hours you estimate the project will take you.
If you start approaching the maximum time you noted, make sure you let the client know before you proceed. This isn’t uncommon and it generally happens when the client comes back with a lot of revisions to take care of, so they’re likely to be understanding.
If you’d rather charge a package rate, decide how much you’d like to earn per hour and calculate how much time it will take you to complete everything included in each package. Then, multiply the numbers.
The downside of this is that, as opposed to charging an hourly rate, you might wind up working longer than expected if the client needs changes or revisions. To avoid this, try to note that the price includes “x number of revisions” before you send out your price.
How Much Is Your Time Worth?
Ask yourself: How much would I like to make? And more importantly: Why? Maybe you’re choosing to leave your 9-5 to get the freedom of freelancing, and in that case, calculate how much you should charge in order to earn the same (or more) than you are at your current job. Hopefully, you’ll also be working fewer hours, so take that into account!
Next, take a look at how long it takes you to complete a task in the range of services that you’re offering in order to create a package that works in favor of your financial goals.
Evaluate your goals
If you want to get started with lots of clients, then you can set your rate a little below that of your competitors. With that said, make sure you create a contract that states your rates can change with time, and make sure you do raise them a year or so later.
One thing to take into account is that you don’t want to go TOO low. If you see VAs in your niche are charging $30 for the same services you’re offering, don’t try going as low as $10 in order to get more clients.
You’ll basically be working 3 times more than the rest for the exact same money. Yes, it’s okay to go a little bit under market value in order to start, but don’t undervalue yourself and don’t abuse your time just to get a client. Trust that the right client WILL come along, and they will most certainly be willing to pay you for your skills and time. Personally, I get higher rates for articles than some of my peers – but I overdeliver for my clients, making sure that the extra money they pay is worth it for them.
How To Start Getting Clients for Your VA Business
So you’ve finally started your VA business.
Now what? *gasps*
Being self-employed is extremely rewarding, but it also comes with its own set of unique challenges. The toughest one? Landing that first client.
More often than not, once you get your first job, there will be a whole lot more where that came from. For one, your first client will likely refer you to other business owners in their network, or at the very least, provide a positive review that gives other potential clients enough confidence to hire you.
If you’re wondering where to find your first client as a virtual assistant, or where to get more clients in order to increase your income, here are a few tips on where and how to land clients that need just the services you’re offering!
This tip may only apply for virtual assistants who already have a client or two, but it’s a great thing to keep in mind for new VAs to use once they grow a little.
Let current clients know you have availability for new clients and that you would appreciate referrals. After all, business owners tend to network a ton, so they probably know people who might need your services as well.
Plus, having someone they know and trust recommend you to them pretty much guarantees you’ll get the gig, which is much simpler and faster than going through a whole interview process blindly!
You may also want to consider offering a referral program for your business. This essentially means you can reward clients for their referrals by giving them credit to use towards your services, a discount, or even a cut of the money you make from your new client.
Network, network, network. If you’re the outgoing type, try working at a co-working space a few days a week or attend meetups where like-minded people will likely be at.
If you’re an introvert or would simply much rather network from the comfort of your home, that’s possible, too. Try joining Facebook groups for VAs, business owners, or freelancers and you’re bound to e-meet several people who can either hire you or potentially refer you to clients.
Facebook groups are one of the most surefire ways to get clients quickly these days. For one, you can do some serious networking right from the comfort of your couch, and two, they tend to provide a much more relaxed atmosphere.
There are myriads of Facebook groups dedicated to VA job searches – some are super general, which is a great place to start if you’re not sure what you want to do. If you dig deeper and use the right search keywords, you’ll also find more niche groups including a few for content creators, bloggers, and more specific job searches where you can very likely find your dream clients.
A few tips to finding work on Facebook:
● Turn notifications on in order to get pinged every time someone creates a post. Who knows! Your dream client might be looking for you and you want to make sure you don’t miss them.
● Introduce yourself to the group. Don’t be afraid to let people know you’re getting started – most people here are business owners and they know what it’s like to be in your shoes. They’ll likely support you in every way possible, be it by giving you tips, providing a referral, or even hiring you!
Let people in your life know about your new business
Put the word out there. Let your friends, family, and even casual acquaintances know you’re starting a business. You might be surprised what you might find!
Know a graphic designer? A writer? Or any other business owner? If you have fellow business owners or freelancers in your life, don’t be afraid to suggest partnering up.
For all you know, your first VA client might be in dire need of a graphic designer, and your friend’s client might be looking for someone to handle a few tasks in your area of expertise. You could either refer to each other or even venture into creating a whole empire together!
Tips for Finding and Keeping the Right Clients
Make sure you don’t go overboard and that you have room in your schedule to accommodate every client
If you feel you’re working too much and not meeting your financial goals, you might want to take a look at how you can adjust your work to fit your wants. This might mean outsourcing work to other VAs, increasing your rates, or coming up with a strategy to attract clients who fit your needs better.
Identify what your dream client would be like
What makes a client a good match for you? Are they easy to communicate with? Do they let you take charge of your work or do they need to be in constant contact with you? What type of work do they do and how much are they willing to pay for your services?
Know exactly what you want in a client and create a vetting system for those you don’t think will be a good fit.
Keeping clients is key
If you land a client you love, try your best to keep them. Realistically, most clients will be looking for a long-term VA, so being sure they feel appreciated is key. This doesn’t mean you need to go overboard, but making sure you prioritize them and make them feel appreciated (hey! A Christmas gift card is always welcomed) is fundamental.
A great client will not only make your work as a VA pleasurable, but it can also mean having a consistent source of income and potential referrals to other like-minded clients, too!
Wrapping it all up
Finding clients as a virtual website assistant isn’t hard as long as you know where to look. If you’re currently starting out as a VA or simply looking to get more established, these tips will get you all set up on the right track.
As a rule, make sure you remember that a great, easy-going (and well-paying) client is better than having ten mediocre ones. Make sure you have a set of standards and boundaries in order to attract clients that make your workdays something you actually look forward to.